CARSON, CA - JUNE 23: Mike Magee #18 of the Los Angeles Galaxy reacts after scoring a goal i n first half against the Vancouver Whitecaps at The Home Depot Center on June 23, 2012 in Carson, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Good morning Galaxy fans! Nine points in one week, quite an accomplishment. From last place to fifth, but the work isn't over yet. The Galaxy now have an incredibly important match to prepare for, as a win over San Jose on Saturday would move the team back into contender status.
"It was an important week for us," said David Beckham, "because we've come up against Portland, obviously a good team and then Salt Lake in Salt Lake. It's always going to be a hard game. And tonight, Vancouver are a good team. I think our first half performance killed them off completely. So, it's a great week for us."
While the team certainly is hot right now, the lack of draws (only two on the year) during their slump means the team is still two victories below a .500 win percentage; five points behind the Sounders (who play later today) and six behind the Whitecaps who each only have one more win than the Galaxy. Still, now is time for positives:
"We could have gotten more goals," said manager Bruce Arena, "but I don't want to be greedy, at this point. I think we are slowly becoming a good team. And, I think that inside our locker room we understand what it takes to become a good team. It was an important week for us. We are back in playoff contention. And, there are going to be a lot of difficult games ahead."
The match against San Jose will mark the midpoint of the Galaxy's season. While they're still two results behind the teams directly above them in the standings, they now have the opportunity to be playoff pacesetters. Chivas, directly behind the Galaxy in the standings, is off next week while Colorado has to go on the road to Portland. Also potentially advantageous for the Galaxy, San Jose have to play Seattle on Tuesday in a US Open Cup match.
"Unfortunately we're still up against it," said Landon Donovan. "We're not in the position to relax and chill out so we got to keep going and we have a few days off to rest and then we have a big game against a really hot team."
It's hard to underestimate San Jose's hotness. Three victories in their last five matches and a goal differential of 12, the Earthquakes are playing amazing soccer. The most sobering part is how much of it is come from behind victories. The Galaxy experienced first hand that quick turnaround ability as San Jose scored three unanswered goals to defeat the Galaxy 2-3 at The Home Depot Center just before the international break. However, the Galaxy back line has improved, and the Galaxy pulled that same feat on the road at Salt Lake Wednesday.
"Our backline is improving," said Arena. "I think [David] Lopes had one of his best games of the season. Nice to have Josh [Saunders] there. So, I think we are moving forward, but we have a long way to go."
Lopes, who's been a question mark on the back line will have to continue improving. Leonardo is back to being listed as out with knee inflammation. Boyens is out, Gaul is questionable. If Lopes can prove himself capable of being the everyday man long enough for someone to come off the injured list, the Galaxy might be back in this thing.